Written by Bushi

As you get more and more ingrained with the sim racing world, one thing you will quickly realize is that in order to race at the top level, you will most likely need a racing wheel.

Wheels not only allow for more precise corrections and movements for controlling the car but it feels more immersive as well. That's why I will be covering the best sim racing wheels for under $1000 in this article to get you started with the best wheel for your budget.

The Best Type of Racing Wheels

When I got started with sim racing (which wasn't even that long ago), the racing wheel market wasn't as robust as it is now with all these different wheel types at different prices.

Though it did mean that our choices were more streamlined, we didn't have access to all the top-tier wheels unless we were on a PC and had a lot of money.

These days, you can get a Direct Drive wheelbase with a pedal set and steering rim for less than $500.

So what are the types of sim racing wheels, and why do they matter to you?

Best Wheels Under 1000

Gear-Driven Wheelbases

Gear-driven wheelbases are the cheapest type of wheelbase you can buy.

Well actually, they are the cheapest Force Feedback wheels you can buy mainly because there are wheels you can purchase that don't have Force Feedback.


Here's a quick video below talking about what Force Feedback is and why it's important:

Moving on, gear-driven wheelbase uses small motors with a gear system that helps boost the strength and detail that you will feel in your hands as you drive around the track. It isn't the best method used today it's the worst, in my opinion.

However, it is the cheapest type, so if you're on a strict budget, this wheel type is where you'd need to look for your first wheelbase.

I will get into recommendations for Gear-driven wheelbase later in the article so if you want to go straight to my recommendations, click this link.

Belt-Driven Wheelbases

Belt-driven wheelbases are similar to gear-driven ones with the main difference being the belt that's used. In some cases (like the Thrustmaster T300), you get both gears and belts inside that help boost the overall strength of the smaller motor used.

Best Wheels Under 1000

Belt-driven bases provide a much smoother experience than gear-driven ones allowing you to make corrections with more precision and feel more detail in the Force Feedback. They do tend to be more expensive but the smoothness combined with the power of these wheelbases is worth the price increase.

However, recently things have shifted a bit, and now the last type of wheelbase has become a lot more accessible to most sim racers.

Direct Drive Wheelbase

Direct-drive wheelbases are currently the best of the best when it comes to wheelbase technology. Direct Drive (as the name suggests) has the wheel shaft directly connecting to the motor inside the base.

This means no belts or gears to boost the motor; however, to combat this, companies will use bigger and better motors.

Direct Drive bases also tend to be much more powerful (ranging from 3NM to 32NM of strength).

Here's an awesome video from OvertakeGG on whether you should get a direct drive wheelbase.

Direct Drive wheelbases also provide the smoothest and most detailed Force Feedback out of the 3 types and would usually be the most expensive type.

However, that has changed in the last year. So let's get into the different recommendations I have depending on the budget you have for a wheelbase.

Best Gear-Driven Wheelbases

Logitech G29 / G920

The Logitech G29 is one of the most popular wheels out there. Logitech has been in the game for a long time and has been the staple for affordable wheels, and their G29 / G920 is no different.

Best Sim Racing Wheels

The best part about Logitech's wheels is that they tend to come ready to go right out of the box.

This means you get the wheel/wheelbase and pedals to start with as soon as you open the box. Here's an in-depth video review of the Logitech G29.

Thrustmaster T248

Next up is one of Thrustmaster's newer wheels that compete in the £200 - £250 range similar to the Logitech.

The Thrustmaster T248 is a new and improved version of Thrustmaster's T150 wheel. Similarly to the G29, it comes with a plug-and-play bundle to get started as soon as possible.

The T248 is a gear & belt driven hybrid. However, I have included it here due to its similar price to the Logitech.

With its 3 preset Force Feedback settings, you can enjoy most racing games, from drifting to Formula 1. My only issue with this wheel similar to the Logitech is that it doesn't have a changeable steering rim.

Though I can't complain about the price point it's at (£229.99 at the time of writing this article).

Here's a more detailed review of the Thrustmaster T248:

Best Belt-Driven Wheelbases

Thrustmaster T300

The first wheel up for the best belt-driven wheelbases is one that I have a lot of history with. It was the first wheelbase I ever used, and it was the wheelbase I had for the longest time, and that's the Thrustmaster T300 (or, in my case, the TX).

Before direct drives became highly accessible, this was my go-to recommendation as it has a very high price to performance value.

Best Wheels Under 1000

Though 3.6NM isn't the strongest, it was still powerful enough for most sim titles and provides sufficient detail in FFB to reach a high skill level.

However, my main reason behind purchasing this wheelbase was the ecosystem it came with.

The Thrustmaster T300 allows you to change the steering rim without needing a 3rd-party. This means you can get officially licensed wheels to swap between depending on what kind of car you can drive.

The T300 also comes with a pedal set, and though I must admit, it's not the highest standard of pedal set (even at this price point) for today's market, it's still enough to get you started.

Here's a review of the wheelbase that I made a few years back:

Thrumaster TSPC

Another wheelbase in the Thrustmaster lineup is the TSPC. As the name suggests, this wheelbase only works on PC so I do have another recommendation below that is the console equivalent to this one.

The TSPC is a small step up from the T300, having more overall Force Feedback strength. At roughly 5NM, the TSPC has enough strength for most people on most sims.

It also comes with the ecosystem feature, allowing you to swap out wheels depending on the type of car you want to drive.

Here's a more detailed look at the TSPC:

Thrustmaster TGT II

As I mentioned, there are three wheelbases at this level in Thrustmaster's line of wheelbases. You have the TSPC (for PC), the TSXW (for Xbox) and this one, the TGT II (for Playstation).

I would say this one is the most refined as it's the newer release out of the 3 and also comes with a unique feature solely for GT Sport.

Best Wheels Under 1000

The TGT II's 3D FFB technology allows for better detail and overall feedback within GT Sport, meaning if you plan to play that sim, this could be one of the better options to pick up.

Like most of Thrustmaster's products, this wheelbase does come with a steering rim and pedal set to get going right away; however, once again, the pedal set isn't the best by today's standards. So, you will find yourself upgrading the pedals first.

Here's a detailed review of the TGT II:

Best Direct Drive Wheelbases

Here we are, the best of the best. Direct Drive wheelbases, by the nature of which they are made, are considered the best; for that reason, here are the best wheelbases under $1000.

Moza R5 / R9

Now, you might be thinking immediately if you know your wheelbases, "What about the R12?"

I haven't included that wheelbase mainly because to get everything else with the R12, it will cost more than $1000.

So, I recommend the Moza R5 and Moza R9 from Moza, respectively.

Best Wheels Under 1000

These two wheelbases are becoming the standard of modern sim racing. Having used the Moza R5 myself, these wheelbases are a massive step up from the belt-driven ones of the past.

The strength and smoothness of Moza's R5 and R9 are almost second to none. This means complete control over the car while you're on track, with the ability to catch oversteer slides that you just wouldn't be able to on a Logitech G29.

The difference between the R5 and R9 is only in the motor used. Meaning the Moza R9 has 9NM vs. the 5.5NM in the R5.

Otherwise, there are no differences.

"Here is a detailed review from myself on the Moza R5; this review will give you insight into all of Moza's wheelbases as well:

Fanatec CSL DD

Next up is Fanatec with their CSL DD wheelbases. These wheelbases were the first of their kind, creating a new wave of affordable sim-racing DD wheels.

In addition to that, as of right now, Fanatec is the ONLY DIRECT DRIVE WHEELBASES that work on PlayStation and Xbox.

At 5NM, this small but powerful wheelbase has a lot of detail with more strength than most will need for sim racing. However, if you need more strength, you can upgrade to 8NMs.

The only thing I don't like about this is that to upgrade, you need to buy a new power brick costing £150.

At least you do have that option, though; if you want to upgrade an R5 to an R9 with Moza, you'd need to buy the R9, which would set you back another £400.

Here's a detailed review from Boosted Media on the CSL DD:

Thrustmaster T818

The last Direct Drive on this list for under $1000 is Thrustmaster's T818. Customers asked Thrustmaster for a DD option for a long time, and they finally delivered.

Best Wheel Under 1000

Packing up to a powerful 10NM (the strongest wheelbase on this list), Thrustmaster has released a wheelbase that rivals all others. My main issue with this wheelbase comes with the lacklustre software.

It's too outdated, and using the T300 myself can sometimes be pretty confusing.

Check out my Moza review to see what modern-day software should look like.

Otherwise, I recommend checking out Barry from Sim Racing Garage's review on this wheelbase, as he goes super in-depth:

Bonus Wheelbases (Over $1000)

I am not going to be talking much about these bonus wheelbases as I plan to make a detailed article on them but just as a bonus for those with a bigger budget, here are some wheelbases I recommend checking out over the $1000 price tag:

There are more, but I would recommend looking into these wheelbases first. Remember that currently, only the Fanatec DD wheelbases I've recommended here are useable on consoles.

Final Words

No matter what type of wheelbase you end up with, you will feel much more immersed and have much better control over the car on track than if you were using a controller.

Getting used to using pedals when playing takes a little time, but once you've mastered techniques such as trail braking, being smooth with the throttle, and heel & toe, you'll feel much more comfortable on the track.

Those are my recommendations for wheelbases under $1000 (with some over $1000 for those with a bigger budget). If you have any questions on the wheelbases I've discussed in this article, feel free to leave me a comment below, and I will help you as much as I can to help you make the best decision!

Read More Articles:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}